According to officials, rescue teams in Utah assisted tourists and park rangers who were trapped by flash floods on Thursday and had to leave Capitol Reef National Park.
Flash floods hit Utah national park
According to a news statement from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), Grand Wash experienced active flooding at 12:18 p.m. Some park rangers who were trying to rescue stranded tourists ended up being stuck themselves due to the flooding.
Active flooding was present. As park rangers worked to rescue people from the wash, several of them became caught in the flood but managed to escape by climbing to higher ground, according to the sheriff’s office.
According to the park service, minor cuts and abrasions were the only injuries reported.
An “excessive amount of guests” were present at the park, and the floods were “serious,” according to a dispatch center in Richfield, Sevier County, which was instructed to get in touch with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and urge them to help with airlifting people to safety.
The WCSO said that a DPS helicopter was sent to the location and was able to rescue those who were stranded there. To assist the DPS with refueling, a jet fuel trailer also came from a nearby town.
Officials reported that “they were able to hoist them out and brought them to a parking lot.” The park rangers worked assiduously to clear the roads, making them passable, but there were about 60 individuals in the parking lot who nearly had to spend the night.
According to Kassidee Brown, a spokeswoman for Wayne County, the Utah Department of Transportation and the WCSO mutually decided which local roads would be shut down during the flash flooding.
For those who were stuck due to the flooding, park service employees offered housing in motels close by.
The sheriff’s office stated that there are roughly seven to eight “disabled automobiles in the flood zones” and added that park rangers “were able to secure housing and are shuttle[ing] individuals out of the parking lot to the neighboring motels.”
The release concluded, “[Officials] will work to bring them out, conditions permitting.”
Massive floodwaters earlier this month devastated Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding areas, washed down roads and bridges, shut off electricity, and required people to leave some of the park’s most famous attractions during the height of the summer travel season.
According to Yellowstone officials, more than 10,000 visitors were asked to leave the country’s first national park, according to a story by The Associated Press.
For the first time since devastating flooding wrecked bridges and roads and evicted thousands of visitors, the park partially reopened on Wednesday.